Jones' Shutout Start, Griffis Homer Lift Navs Wednesday at Newport

07/12/2023 8:05 PM

NEWPORT, R.I. — The North Shore Navigators scored twice in the third inning and added a pair of insurance runs on the way to a 4-1 win over the Newport Gulls in Wednesday night’s New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) game at Cardines Field.

North Shore improved to 14-16 following its fourth win in a five-game span, which includes a pair of wins against the league leaders. The victory also snapped the Navs' six-game losing streak in Newport dating back to last season. At 22-8, Newport still leads the Coastal Division and overall NECBL standings despite having lost three of four.

Designated hitter Evan Griffis (Stetson) hit his third home run in the last four games and fourth of the season, driving in a pair to put North Shore in front 2-0. Third baseman Jake Berger (Harvard) and shortstop Henry Kaczmar (Ohio State) each went 2-for-4.

South Hamilton native Will Jones (Northeastern) turned in his best outing of the summer, allowing just two hits and one walk across five shutout innings. The left-hander struck out a season-high seven for the second time in three starts and faced just two batters over the minimum.

Jones allowed a leadoff single to Newport shortstop Kolby Branch (Georgia), but Stan DeMartinis III (Bentley) made a relay throw from left field to second baseman Luca Trigiani (William & Mary) for a putout that started an unconventional 1-2-3 inning. Newport went down in order in two of the next four innings, and Jones recorded strikeouts in three different frames.

The Navs got Newport starter Jake Hunter (East Carolina) into trouble by loading the bases in the second inning. Catcher Matt Chatelle (Merrimack) hit a one-out single up the middle, and first baseman Brandon Drapeau (Saint Joseph’s) stung a base hit of his own into left. After a walk to DeMartinis loaded the bases, Hunter escaped the jam with two strikeouts.

Hunter induced back-to-back fly balls to begin the third, but Griffis left the yard with two outs to begin the scoring for North Shore. Kaczmar struck a double to center to start the quick rally before Griffis crushed a two-run homer over the tall fencing and just inside the foul pole in left field.

After loading the bases for a second time, North Shore added another run without the benefit of a hit in the fifth. Trigiani reached on a fielder’s choice that subsequently erased Berger after drawing his league-leading 34th walk of the summer. Trigiani moved to third on two wild pitches and scored on Chatelle’s grounder to third.

Newport broke the shutout after Colin Brodeur (Florida Southwestern State) relieved Jones in the bottom of the sixth as Branch hit a leadoff double and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by second baseman Trent Farquhar (Michigan State).

After potentially saving a run to begin the game, DeMartinis hit a leadoff single and scampered home with North Shore’s final insurance run on a wild pitch in the eighth. Center fielder Peter Messervy’s (Harvard) single and a stolen base moved him along the basepaths.

Brodeur stranded two on base in the seventh before the usual back end of North Shore’s bullpen took over for the final two innings. Tristan Ciampa (Northern Essex CC) worked around a one-out walk and ended the eighth with a strikeout. 

In the ninth, Newport filled the bases with a walk and a hit batter after third baseman Slate Alford (Georgia) hit a leadoff double. Nick Davis (Northeastern) recorded his third save, fanning Branch to end the game and finish the scoreless inning with two strikeouts.

Branch went 2-for-5 and scored the lone Newport run. Hunter, who entered the game with a perfect ERA through 17 innings this summer, fell to 3-1.

The Navs return to Fraser Field to begin a five-game, four-day homestand Friday night against the Mystic Schooners. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.